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an ancient Greek philosopher traditionally identified as Plato points skywards, employing the 'declarative finger' gesture
the 'declarative finger' gesture as portrayed in Raphael's fresco The School of Athens

Point upwards using the index finger, keeping the other fingers of this hand closed, with your hand close to head-level.


[declarative finger]

  1. This gesture calls the attention of others, indicating that the speaker is conveying important information.
    • 1509–1511, Raphael, The School of Athens
      [In the painting, Plato is pointing upward in the middle of a conversation with Aristotles.]
    • 2014, Big Hero 6 (film)
      [In the middle of a car chase, Baymax saves Hiro from falling out of the car, and then puts on Hiro's seat belt.]
      Baymax: Seat belts save lives. Buckle up, every time. [said while pointing upward from his own point of view]
    • 2015, Asterix and the Missing Scroll, page 14:
      Getafix: [speaks, while pointing upward] Let me remind you that it's mainly the Greeks and Romans who use the written word. We Gauls stick to oral tradition []

American Sign Language[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (with palm facing back) 𝠀


From the use of the index finger as the first extended one when counting by hand in American culture.[1]


  • This one-handed ASL sign is produced as follows:
    1. Posture the dominant hand in the “1” handshape about half an arm’s length in front of the shoulder, palm facing forward.
    2. Hold the hand briefly in this posture.
GUH Hand LUH Hand LUH Move GUH Move GUH Hand LUH Hand
GUH Palm LUH Palm Second Second GUH Palm LUH Palm
GUH Position LUH Separation Third Third


(ASL gloss: ONE)

  1. one; 1

Usage notes[edit]

Some people always sign the number 1 with the palm forward. For others, however, the palm faces back (i.e., as 1@Side-PalmBack) for the actual number 1 but the palm faces forward when used as a part of a longer number like 555-1234, as a time (i.e. one o'clock), and in certain other numeral-incorporating constructs.

See also[edit]


(ASL gloss: CL-1, CLASSIFIER-1)

  1. the person; ASL classifier used for a standing person.
  2. the long, thin, vertical thing; ASL classifier used for a long, thin, vertical object, e.g. a telephone pole or a tree

Usage notes[edit]

  • (the person, classifier for a standing person): As a person classifier, the pad of the index finger represents the face and the lower phalanges represent the lower portion of the body. The finger can thus be moved or turned in various ways to represent corresponding movements of the person. For example, if the hand slowly bounces while moving forward and then turns to the left, it means something like “the person was walking along leisurely and then made a left turn.”
  • To show interactions with other classifiers, the nondominant hand is often used as this classifier:
    3@InsideChesthigh-FingerAcross-1@CenterChesthigh-PalmForward S@Finger-PalmBack-1@CenterChesthigh-PalmForward
    “[And then] the vehicle crashed into the pole.”


  1. ^ Emily Shaw, Yves Delaporte (2015) A historical and etymological dictionary of American Sign Language: the origin and evolution of more than 500 signs, Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 239

Korean Sign Language[edit]


This one-handed KSL sign is produced as follows:

  • Posture the dominant hand in 1 Side, PalmForward.


1 (Stokoe 1)

  1. The letter (a)